Aussie consumers unafraid to switch banks

Competition between banks for customers remains ‘fierce’, according to the Australian Banking Association (ABA), as more than two million Australians switched provider last year.

According to data from Deloitte Access Economics, which had been commissioned by the Australian Banking Association, 15% of account holders switched bank for everyday transactions.

This compared to a switching rate of just 3% for everyday transaction account holders in the UK and 11% in the US.

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This was followed by 10% who switched credit card provider and 5% who switched their mortgage provider.

While 79% said they were satisfied with their everyday transaction provider, the data indicated those who were unsatisfied were highly likely to look elsewhere.

Price-related factors were important to consumers, particularly among mortgage holders where 87% said price was ‘important’ or ‘very important’. Other important factors were customer service and fraud protection.

The ABA said the data showed competition was fiercer than it had ever been and that it paid for customers to shop around if they were unhappy with the current bank. This could be via online comparison sites or other bank’s marketing materials.

“The message to all Australians is if you aren’t satisfied with your home loan, credit card or other product it pays to shop around to get the best deal possible,” said Anna Bligh, chief executive of the ABA.

In recent years, the Big Four banks have chosen to exit the wealth management market with Westpac being the final firm to depart the market when it announced earlier this year that it was exiting personal advice by financial planners.

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